Kid-Friendly Indian Food

Pleasantville's Little Mumbai Market is serving up amazing dishes and ambience

August 28, 2015

My husband and I love Indian food. Our kids, not so much – too spicy! Which is why we’re all crazy about Little Mumbai Market, a small Indian-French street food restaurant that opened in Pleasantville less than a year ago. The menu features typical Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala, but also includes kid-friendly crêpe options on the French side of the menu, like the black-bean quesadilla.

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Not to mention – the food is really good. My saag paneer rice bowl was the best saag I’ve had in Westchester. The pav bahji that was recommended by the waiter to us as an appetizer was incredibly flavorful and gobbled up within minutes; even the kids had some. I liked how when we asked for that dish to be not spicy, we actually got not spicy. In my experience, most Indian restaurants interpret “not spicy” to mean “just a hint of spiciness” – something that my daughter won’t tolerate!

Also of note are the drinks and desserts. I love a good mango lassi, and Little Mumbai’s version is delicious. There are also hot teas like chai, cold teas like ginger Darjeeling peach, and vegan smoothies with names like Fig Me Up. For dessert, we all shared a Nutella crêpe with a scoop of SoCo Creamery vanilla ice cream. Somehow my husband and I managed to leave the restaurant with both kids and all of their coloring books accounted for, despite the food coma we were in.

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Bonnie Saran, who opened Little Mumbai, also owns the acclaimed Little Spice Bazaar and Little Crêpe Street in Mt. Kisco, so this is not her first rodeo and it shows. Not only is the food incredible here, the edgy street-themed décor is appealing as well. My kids were mesmerized by the graffitied bathroom. The only drawback that I could see is that the space is tiny; a line formed for a table while we were eating. But believe me – the food is worth waiting for.

Little Mumbai Market, 475 Bedford Road, Pleasantville; 914-773-0500

Get Healthy Feet! Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Scarsdale Medical Group's Podiatrist Gives Us Her Top Tips.

August 26, 2015

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.

Heel pain, blisters, infected cuticles. We’ve all been there. We recently talked to Dr. Michelle Castiello, a podiatrist with Scarsdale Medical Group, about the mistakes we make when it comes to our feet, and how we can take care of them properly.

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1. Ignoring our feet. “The biggest mistake everyone – adults, kids,  seniors – makes when it comes to their feet is not paying enough attention to them,” says Dr. Castiello. “It’s important to examine your feet regularly and know what’s normal for you. If you see something that’s not your normal, don’t ignore it! Make an appointment with a podiatrist.”

2. Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. “You should get your feet measured once a year at a shoe store or by a podiatrist to ensure you’re wearing the right size,” says Dr. Castiello. Feet change over time (i.e., your arches can flatten) and wearing the wrong size shoe can cause blisters, hammer toes or bunions. Dr. Castiello adds, “Most people don’t realize that one foot is typically a half-size larger than the other so it’s important to fit the larger foot for shoes.” And she recommends waiting till the end of the day to visit the shoe store. “Your feet swell over the course of the day, so the end of the day is the best time to get an accurate measurement.”

3. Forgetting sunscreen. “Often people forget their feet when they’re applying sunscreen,” says Dr. Castiello. “It’s important to apply sunscreen all over the foot, including the ankles, heels and the bottom of your foot. All these areas are exposed to the sun in the summer time and need to be protected.” Dr. Castiello suggests wearing shoes at all times during the summer, even if it’s just flip-flops. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot are rampant anywhere there is a lot of moisture Also, viral conditions such as warts are more likely to occur at this time of year.

4. Pedicure mistakes. While podiatrists, in general, aren’t huge fans of pedicures and foot salons, we all like to treat ourselves sometimes. The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to getting pedicures is shaving your legs right before you go. “When you shave your legs, you produce microscopic breaks in the skin, which create entrances for bacteria and potential infections,” says Dr. Castiello. “Always shave your legs at least 24 hours before getting a pedicure.” She also recommends that you bring your own set of clean nail utensils and never let the pedicurist cut your cuticles. “Use a moisturizer or cuticle oil instead to keep your cuticles healthy so they can continue to act as a protective barrier.” Fungal infections contracted from a nail salon can take up to two years to treat!

5. Home remedies gone bad. A minor issue can turn into a major issue if you rely on home remedies, according to Dr. Castiello. A self-diagnosis of a corn, wart or lesion may lead you to use the wrong treatments. “If you are self-treating a condition that is not getting better, it’s definitely time to make an appointment,” says Dr. Castiello. “After all, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone…”

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Michelle Castiello, DPM offers a full range of podiatric services for patients of all ages. She is board certified in primary care podiatric medicine. Dr. Castiello specializes in surgical and non-surgical treatments of all disorders of the foot and ankle, and is currently on staff at Montefiore Medical Center and White Plains Hospital Center.

The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of the Scarsdale Medical Group for more than 50 years. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.

Scarsdale Medical GroupPodiatry Center, 600 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 102, Harrison; 329 White Plains Road, Eastchester; 914-723-8100.

Salt Therapy for Families

Immerse yourself – and your kids – in salt for a unique spa experience.

August 24, 2015

Do you love the fresh, salty air of the beach, but don’t love the trouble of actually going there? Breathe Easy, a wellness center chain that started in Manhattan and recently opened outposts in Dobbs Ferry and Katonah, may be just the place for you.

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The idea that salt possesses healing properties has been around since forever, and at Breathe Easy, the rooms are made of salt blocks, the floor is covered in pink Himalayan salt that resembles chunky pink sand, and the air is infused with micron-sized salt particles. Dry salt therapy is supposed to be great for mitigating respiratory illnesses such as asthma and allergies, combating skin ailments, and even improving sleep conditions like snoring or apnea.

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The best thing about these new locations in Westchester, though, is that they each have a kids’ room that features things like sand toys and child-size furniture. So you could bring your children to play and take in some salt while you lounge on a beach chair in the same room. When a friend and I visited the spa with our kids for a 45-minute session, they easily spent the whole time digging and playing in the salt. Of course, if you’d rather leave the kids at home, there are adults-only relaxation rooms as well.

Healing properties notwithstanding, it’s a pretty relaxing way to pass the time.

Breathe Easy
50 Livingstone Avenue, 4th Floor, Dobbs Ferry; 914-591-2600

200 Katonah Avenue, 2nd Floor, Katonah; 914-232-5600

Westchester Can’t Live Without: Smoochie Poochies

One reader loves this doggie daycare.

August 21, 2015

An occasional column that highlights places, foods and parks in Westchester that our readers love best. 

Reader Alison Lattman of Scarsdale couldn’t live in Westchester without…

Smoochie Poochies

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“I was a first-time dog owner when we got Bailey. After meeting with Smoochie Poochies we became aware of their weekly group ‘playdates,’ which Bailey has happily been participating in twice a week ever since! He has had the opportunity to socialize with other dogs on a regular basis … and when we leave him with them for an extended stay we always receive photo updates and feel comfortable that he is well cared for! Don’t know what I would do without them!”

Smoochie Poochies, 914-282-2866, info@mysmoochiepoochies.com

–Jen Garry

Sponsored Post: Butler Nursery School in Yonkers

A nurturing program fostering children's growth and curiosity through play

August 20, 2015

The belief at Butler Nursery School is that children thrive in an age appropriate program within a safe and nurturing environment. The curriculum is designed to foster children’s growth, stimulate their curiosity, and challenge their mental and physical needs. Development of socialization skills and the building of self-esteem is encouraged, while respecting each child’s uniqueness as an individual. The classrooms at Butler Nursery School are bright and cheerful, and complimented with a large, muraled indoor playroom and a well-equipped outdoor playground.

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Play is an important aspect of child development. Through play, children explore the world around them by learning how to socialize with others, expressing feelings through language, testing muscular skills, and developing math concepts. Play is enriched through reading, music, art, cooking, and dramatic play.

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Half day programs are offered to children ages 2-4. Programs are offered 2, 3, and 5 days a week (days offered varies based on age).  It is not required that a child be potty-trained before entering school. The school year runs from mid-September to early June, and a six-week summer camp is also available.

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Some daily activities include free play, music, snack time, playground time, painting, story time, dress-up, circle time, and water play. Throughout the year, Butler holds special events such as our International Dinner, Holiday Festival, Christmas Tableau, and Easter Chapel Services.

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Butler is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood in Northeast Yonkers. The Butler Nursery School is a program of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tuckahoe, and is founded on the highest Christian and educational standards.  The teachings of Jesus Christ are shared through stories, holiday observances, grace before snacks, and child-oriented chapel services. A proud member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, Butler welcome families of all religious faiths to join them and are pleased to boast a diverse student body! 

For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (914) 779-7449 and visit www.ButlerNurserySchool.org to learn more. 

The Scoop on The Hudson Creamery

Another reason to stop in Peekskill: homemade ice cream.

August 19, 2015

By Jennifer Garry

When my girls and I saw a sign pop up for The Hudson Creamery down by the riverfront in Peekskill, we were ecstatic. Walking distance from our favorite playground, this brand new ice cream shop is right next door to Taormina and another Peekskill newbie, Taco Dive Bar. Also within walking distance from Peekskill Brewery, it’s in a pretty perfect location to grab some dessert after dinner and before a stroll along the riverfront.

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We finally got to check the place out recently. Greeted by warm, friendly faces and a brightly colored interior with lots of nostalgia (think framed vintage photos of the Hudson Valley and shots of Marilyn Monroe eating an ice cream cone), my girls were sold before they even had a lick of ice cream.

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And the ice cream (which is locally made) was delicious. I had the killer chocolate, which is perfect for chocolate lovers like myself. Next time I plan to try the coconut almond joy. The flavor options varied from fruity to peanut buttery, and there’s also local coffee and baked goods if you’re not feeling a frozen concoction.

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Since the place is still new and not operating every day (as of now they’re usually open Friday through Sunday), I highly recommend checking out their Facebook page before your head over. They generally list their hours there.

The Hudson Creamery, 55 Hudson Street, Peekskill; 914-293-7811

Take a Spin on the Bear Mountain Carousel

The famous state park features a beautiful wooden carousel of native animals.

August 17, 2015

Bear Mountain State Park is well known in these parts for its picturesque hiking and biking trails, fun boat rentals and breathtaking views of the Hudson River. But did you know that it’s also home to a gorgeous wooden carousel?

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The Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round, which sits in a soaring 7,800-square-foot pavilion, was designed to highlight the indigenous animals and natural scenes of the Hudson River Valley area. Included in the menagerie of 42 hand-carved animals are a red fox, a river otter, a bobcat, a skunk (!) and, of course, several black bears. The fully handicap accessible carousel is open seasonally, and birthday parties can be held in the beautifully designed pavilion, which contains a concession stand as well.

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The best part about the carousel, though, is that it’s only $1 per ride for kids; adults are free if they’re accompanying children. You just don’t find deals like that anymore! Also free is Bear Mountain State Park’s Trailside Zoo, which features live versions of many of the animals found on the carousel. You and your family could easily make a day out of these two attractions alone.

Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round, Route 9W South, Bear Mountain, NY; 845-786-2731. The carousel is located at the south end of the parking lot for Bear Mountain Inn.

How To: Explore the Liberty Science Center

It's a haul to Jersey City, but the rewards are big at this touch and explore science museum.

August 14, 2015

It was one of those 95 degree days — so hot that, as my friend Sara says, “might as well be a blizzard outside.” On impulse, I packed up the kids and drove to Jersey City to try the Liberty Science Center, which is on nearly every “what to do with kids in NYC” list. Best of all, it was air-conditioned.

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First surprise: The Liberty Science Center is right next to Liberty State Park, a sprawling green space with stunning views of lower Manhattan, the East and Hudson Rivers, and Lady Liberty herself; a quick ferry ride will take you to Ellis Island. So a fun-packed day could include a visit to both, although the Liberty Science Center has more than enough to keep your little ones busy for the day.

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Kids 4 and under will enjoy the iExplore room, which offers a rice table and light-up floor, among other things, and there’s more for them to enjoy throughout the museum: water tables, science-themed story times, glass cases with creepy crawlies, a room filled with oversize blocks for building, a giant bubble machine.

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Kids 5 and up will also love the Liberty Science Center for other reasons. You can climb through duct-tape tunnels (yes, duct tape), hop into a simulator to zip through space or speed down snowy hills, or watch one of several IMAX movies. The Infinity Climber was the coolest. Here, you could climb through an infinity symbol suspended from the ceiling; seriously, it’s wild.

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Outside, there’s an area where kids can scurry like squirrels, climb like spiders, or worm through holes in an obstacle course. Best of all, there are shady spots for you to sit and take in breathtaking views of the city skyline. Inside, an interactive Skyscraper exhibit gives kids a chance to learn what goes into building the soaring structures.

There’s a cafeteria for lunch, or pack your own. You can buy your tickets online to save a wait on the giant line. It took exactly an hour to get there, but leave wayyy before rush hour, or else! We got stuck crawling over the GW Bridge. Have fun!

Liberty Science Center222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City; 201-200-1000.

The Film Festival in My Backyard

Pop the popcorn and invite over friends for an outdoor movie.

August 12, 2015

When we were in our 20s, one of our friends (a teacher) borrowed a projector from his middle school for the summer so we could watch outdoor movies on his porch. There was a debate over what we’d watch. Our first pick: Say Anything. (Yes, the girls won that one.) But at the end of the summer, we had to return it, and our outdoor movies ended.

Until last summer.

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That’s when my husband bought a compact movie projector at Target.com. We hooked it up to Apple TV and a Bose speaker system and started to watch movies in our backyard. (Eat your heart out, Brooklynites!) We hung a simple white sheet from the side of our garage as a screen, told our friends to bring lawn chairs and wine, and now we have a tradition. Our last pick: Goonies. (I have to say, the movie was much better when I was 12!)

Anyway, the projector we bought cost about $250, but some are priced higher, some lower. Once you get it, plan a movie night with the grown-ups, for the kids, or as a family. Worth every penny.

Balayage Highlights: A Healthy and Low-Maintenance Way to Color Your Hair

The pros at Hernan Prada Salon in Scarsdale invited us to try it out.

August 10, 2015

Balayage, which is French for “to sweep,” is a hair coloring technique that originated in Paris in the 1970s. The technique was designed to create very natural-looking highlights that grow out without a drastic color change at the root, hence a very low-maintenance method of hair color.

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Hernan Prada

We were recently invited by the team at eco-friendly Hernan Prada Salon in Scarsdale to try out balayage highlights from Hernan himself. (Hernan was born and raised in Buenos Aires, where he started as an apprentice before moving to Barcelona, and subsequently to John Barrett Salon in NYC).  By applying an ammonia-free lightening powder (never bleach) in multiple shades with a comb to sections of hair, the results were super-natural highlights that actually create healthier hair. Healthy hair that only needs to be treated two to three times a year? Yes, please!

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The results

Balayage is perfect for blondes seeking natural-looking highlights, as the product works with the natural pigments in the hair, but can also be applied to brunettes or red-heads. The technique, combined with ammonia-free color, enhances the natural colors within your hair, thus maintaining its integrity and your natural beauty.

Balayage highlights start at $200 ($250 with Hernan himself). First-time customers will receive a complimentary haircut with the purchase of balayage highlights, or 25% off any first service.

Hernan Prada Salon, 130 Brook Street, Scarsdale; 914-574-5367.

Date Night: Mix Cocktail Bar and Kitchen

Bet you've never heard of this quiet place to grab an app.

August 7, 2015

There’s nothing more fun than discovering a new restaurant. On a recent summer night, we popped into Mix Cocktail Bar and Kitchen, a cozy, dimly lit (and verrry quiet) spot tucked away in the Crowne Plaza in White Plains. The space reads hotel. Think: Fully stocked bar with a long stretch of seats wrapping around a dining area with high-backed leather chairs and bright pops of modern art.

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But the menu wasn’t what you’d expect at a hotel restaurant. There’s a large variety of interesting small plates. Case in point: the Wasabi Chicken Sliders, which lingered in memory, combining just enough zest with classic grilled chicken char to tantalize. We couldn’t get enough of the Roasted Veggie Baguette, which paired goat cheese and perfectly roasted zucchini and eggplant on just-right toasted bread. And dessert was just as fun, with a platter of mini milkshakes served in shot glasses.

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I wouldn’t bring the kids. This is a great spot to taste and sip, and maybe even pretend that you’re away on vacation. Skip the “big plates” and sample away, even have an extra drink. After all, you can always get a room.

Wink.

Mix Cocktail Bar and Kitchen, Crowne Plaza, 66 Hale Ave, White Plains; 914-682-0050

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pregnancy

Scarsdale Medical Group's OBGYN gives us a refresher.

August 6, 2015

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.

Whether you’re pregnant with your first baby or having No. 3, you’re probably always trying to remember what things you can eat, medications you can take, and when it is safe to travel. We spoke with Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN, Dr. Beth Simon, who gave us a quick set of guidelines for the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. (Dr. Simon gives all of her pregnant patients an 8-page guide she created and refers to as the Cliff Notes for What to Expect When You’re Expecting.)

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Cheese & Fish: What’s OK? 

Due to the possibility of contracting listeria, which can be harmful to a fetus (as well as the mom-to-be), it is unsafe to consume unpasteurized cheeses when pregnant. All cheeses that are made in the U.S. are pasteurized, making them safe to eat. The risky category would be imported (and potentially unpasteurized) soft cheeses that you might find in an upscale market or restaurant, so just be aware of what you are eating. Hard cheeses are typically fine.

Dr. Simon recommends that her pregnant patients limit themselves to two 6 oz. portions of fish per week. There are four types of fish that are not recommended during pregnancy due to the high mercury content, which has been linked to fetal brain damage. These include shark, tile fish, king mackerel and swordfish. The safest fish to consume during pregnancy are codfish, brook or rainbow trout, yellow or white perch, and haddock. Tuna (canned or fresh) has a moderate level of mercury and should not be consumed frequently (less than 6 oz. per week is fine).

If I Have a Cold, What Can I Take? 

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to suffer! “Plenty of medications are safe during pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon. Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) are effective and safe for aches, pains and fever. Others include Robitussin (guaifenisin), which may be helpful for a cough, and Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) for congestion. If you’re suffering from allergies, Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratidine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine) are all safe antihistamines. “Allegra (fexofenadine), however, is not recommended,” says Dr. Simon.  As a precaution, always check with your obstetrician about taking any medications, especially during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Getting relief from Constipation & Hemorrhoids 

“Constipation and hemorrhoids are a very common, though unpleasant, side effect of pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon. “This is due to both your hormonal changes and pre-natal vitamins.” She recommends increasing your fiber intake and drinking 8 oz. bottles of water to get things moving. She also recommends prune juice and taking a stool softener like Colace (docusate) for comfort. Milk of magnesia and Citrucel, taken as directed, are both effective in easing constipation.

Hemorrhoids often occur in a woman’s third trimester “due to the weight of the baby at this late stage in your pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon, who recommends treating with witch hazel, Tucks pads (keep them in the fridge!) or Preparation H.

Is It Safe To Get On a Plane? 

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is generally safe to travel domestically up to the 36th week of pregnancy and internationally up to the 35th week.  If you do travel, Dr. Simon recommends that you take breaks: “Walk around every hour or so to help prevent blood clots and increase circulation. The humidity on the plane is usually fairly low, so be sure to increase your water intake, as well.” Always check with your doctor before traveling. Dr. Simon recommends getting a note stating that it is safe to travel at your particular stage of pregnancy. “We give all of our patients a letter with their name, dates of travel and permission to travel, so that no issues arise with air travel security,” says Dr. Simon.

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Beth Simon, MD, (pictured above) and her partner, Ronald Reiss, MD, FACOG, are Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN physicians along with GYN, Claudia Useda, MD. They accept many insurances and provide full OBGYN services including infertility/conception, obstetrics/pregnancy, breastfeeding consultations, ultrasound, gynecological care, well woman care and surgery. 

The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of the Scarsdale Medical Group for more than 50 years. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.

Scarsdale Medical Group, 600 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 301, Harrison; 914-723-8100.

August Happy List

August 5, 2015

The heat has all of us moving sloooow this month. So if you haven’t hit a local beach, a public pool or a spray park, here are some other ways to stay busy this month. Your kids will love being transported to the 19th century as part of From a Child’s Perspective, a special event by […]

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Conquering the Renaissance Faire

August 3, 2015

If your kids spend much of their day dressed up as princesses or pretending to be knights, a perfect weekend outing for your family may be the New York Renaissance Faire, which is happening right now in Tuxedo, New York, until Sept. 27. The festival, a recreation of a magical medieval village, features costumed actors, live […]

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Westchester Can’t Live Without: Peachwave

July 31, 2015

An occasional column that highlights places, foods and parks in Westchester our readers love best.  Reader (and WW contributor) Jen Garry of Cortlandt Manor couldn’t live in Westchester without: Peachwave in Mohegan Lake “We fell in love with the homey vibe (LEGOs, board games, bean bags and comfy couches kept us all happy while we stuffed […]

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Westchester’s Best Playgrounds: Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill

July 29, 2015

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a writer and mom who lives in Northern Westchester If you’re anything like my five-year-old son and me, you have a favorite neighborhood playground. It’s that wonderful place where you run, climb, swing and smile. And it’s terribly boring after the second visit in the same week. So you playground hop, hoping […]

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